One hour from the capital of the Haute-de-France, the coast of the English Channel or the North Sea offers a break from nature, easily accessible for a day or a weekend. Our trajectory.
The sea, the sand, the sea air … Located less than 100 km from Lille, you can reach the English Channel and the North Sea in just one hour by car. In the North, Pas-de-Calais and even in Belgium, we have classified the beach resorts according to the minimum distance by road, with each time the alternative route by train.
The mileage and duration of the car journeys are those provided by Google Maps for departures from Lille on weekends (Friday evening or Saturday morning) under normal traffic conditions. Obviously, traffic jams, which are unavoidable at certain times of the year, will prolong the journey. In times of high departures, it is advisable to consult the Bison Futé traffic forecast.
For the train, we indicate the best travel time as indicated on the SNCF Connect website. Good to know: the major cities on the Opal Coast are served by TERGV, regional trains provided by TGV twice as fast as conventional TER. In addition, every summer, as part of the ether operation, the Hautes-Alpes region of France offers train tickets for € 1 to go to the coast especially.
Bray-Dunes (Nord, Alts-de-France)
The northernmost beach in France, Bray-Dunes, is also the closest to Lille by road. The spa resort, located on the border with Belgium, is an ideal destination for families, with activities and restaurants accessible to all budgets. Its dune landscapes make it a popular place for hikers. Bray-Dunes is the starting and finishing point of the “Vélomaritime”, a cycling route that connects it to Roscoff in Brittany for 1500 km. The section between Bray-Dunes and Dunkirk (12 km) is built on an old railway line.
By car : in 55 minutes on the A25 motorway and the D917 (76 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free city bus DK’Bus (lines C1 and then 20, 50 minutes).
De Panne (Belgium)
Like its neighbor Bray-Dunes, on the other side of the border, La Panne is marked by a landscape of dunes gathered in the Westhoek Nature Reserve. Also ideal for families, the seaside town is home to one of the largest amusement parks in Belgium, Plopsaland.
By car : in one hour on the A25 and D947 (80 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free city bus DK’Bus (lines C1 and then 20, 1 hour).
Malo-les-Bains (North, High of France)
With a casino, a bowling alley and an ice rink, Malo-les-Bains is the main beach in Dunkirk. Belle Époque villas, beach huts, as well as breweries and ice cream parlors surround the dike that extends to the town of Leffrinckoucke. There is no shortage of cultural sites around the beach. The Frac Grand Large, built in 2013 on the site of old shipyards, shows contemporary art, as does the neighboring LAAC. The 1940 Dunkirk Museum, housed in old casemates, commemorates a significant episode of World War II, Operation Dynamo. The Radisson Blu Grand Hotel & Spa Malo-les-Bains, a four-star hotel with 110 rooms with a balneotherapy area, is set to open in September 2022 on the seafront.
By car : between 50 minutes and 1h20 on the A25 motorway (84 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free bus DK’Bus (lines C3 or C4, 15 minutes).
Gravelines / Petit-Fort-Philippe (Nord, Alts-de-France)
The only city in France with walls completely surrounded by water, Gravelines is marked by the presence of Vauban fortifications. An old military building that can be visited on foot or by bike, but also by rowing or pedal boat or electric. The seaside resort of Gravelines, Petit-Fort-Philippe, 3 km from the walls, is within walking distance of the canal dike. The beach is ideal for sailing on sand yachts at low tide and kitesurfing at high tide.
By car : between one hour and 1:30 on the A25 motorway (92 km).
And by train? In 1h04 by TERGV with connection by TER to Dunkirk. From the station, the beach is a 45-minute walk from the Gravelines Walls.
Belgium’s main seaside resort is just 90 km from Lille by road. If the modern seafront buildings add a little charm to the queen of Belgian beaches, just take the Kusstram to the west of the city to find the dune landscapes. This tram line covers the entire Belgian coast for 67 km, from La Panne on the French border to Knokke on the Dutch border. To fill you with culture and learn more about Belgian maritime history, board the Mercator and the Amandine, two museum boats moored at Ostend Marina.
To discover the city in an original way, follow the digital walk dedicated to singer Marvin Gaye. In 1981, after a great artistic fall, the soul legend found inspiration in Ostend to compose his latest album. Midnight Lovewith his hit “Sexual Healing.”
By car : between one hour and 1h20 on the E403 motorway (93 km).
And by train? In 1h53 by IC train (SNCB) from Lille-Flandres station with connection to Kortrijk.
Cap Blanc-Nez Beach (Pas-de-Calais, High of France)
It is one of the most beautiful natural curiosities of the Alts-de-France. A few kilometers west of Calais, Cap Blanc-Nez is part of the network of the Great Places of France, as is Cap Gris-Nez, located further south. From the top of the gypsum cliffs that culminate at 134 meters above the English Channel, the English coast, about thirty kilometers away, is within walking distance on a clear day. A hiking trail (GR120) connects the two ends passing through several coastal villages such as Ambleteuse and Audresselles.
By car : between 1:15 and 1:50 on the A25 and A16 motorways (122 km).
And by train? In 1h15 by TER to Calais-Ville, then free Div’in bus (line 5, 30 minutes).
Wimereux (Pas de Calais, Haute-France)
Made up of both fine sand and pebbles, Wimereux Beach, considered the oldest maritime resort in northern France, is just a few kilometers from Boulogne-sur-Mer. The 1.5 km long dike is bordered by some 300 Belle Époque villas, built in fashion for sea bathing and shortly after the arrival of the railway. Crossing the D940 coastal road, Wimereux is an ideal base for exploring the Deux-Caps site by car or on foot.
By car : between 1:20 and 1:50 on the A25 and A16 motorways (138 km).
And by train? One hour by TERGV with TER connection to Calais-Fréthun, then five minutes walk from Wimille-Wimereux station.
Le Touquet Paris-Plage (Pas-de-Calais, Alts-de-France)
Sport, nature, well-being … The seaside town of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, on the Opal Coast, has everything to offer. In terms of sports, the coastal resort is the mecca of golf, tennis, sand boating and horseback riding. Its beach, a space of sand and dunes of 11 km bordered by a pine forest, is ideal for family outings, on foot or by bike. To relax, we will choose to stay at the iconic Westminster Hotel, renovated in September 2020 and equipped with a Nuxe Spa.
By car : between 1:50 and 2:20 on the A25 and A16 motorways (177 km).
And by train? In 1h20 with TERGV or in 2h30 with TER to Etaples-Le Touquet, then shuttle (20 minutes).
[Initialement publié le 13 juin 2021, cet article a fait l’objet d’une mise à jour.]